Postcolonial Print Cultures and their Digital Afterlives: A Roundtable Discussion

8 June 2021, 15:30 - 17:00



Prof Neelam Srivastava
Dr Jack Webb
Dr Siddharth Soni
Prof Caroline Bassett (Chair)


Print cultures have long played an important role in the development and dissemination of literatures in the global South, forging aesthetic and political affinities between languages, cultures, forms, and literary movements. Over the last decade, we have seen a renewed interest in the materiality of the postcolonial page—be it the book form or the more ephemeral media forms like magazines, textbooks, journals, newspapers, and pamphlets. Literary genres like the short story or popular verse, once considered peripheral, have now come back into critical view for the role they played in shaping anti-colonial and dissident movements and establishing significant South-South alliances.

Libraries, archives, and museums have responded to this renewal of academic interest in the ‘postcolonial material' by turning to digital reproduction of these ephemeral print-media. Several initiatives—prominently among them the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme (EAP)—are now turning to the 'digital page' in an attempt to re-disseminate and re-historicise these media through a networked digital practice. But what are the politics and ethics of this move? What are its critical implications for academic scholarship?

In this CDH Open Series, we are joined by Professor Neelam Srivastava (Newcastle University), Dr Jack Webb (Newcastle University) and Dr Siddharth Soni (University of Cambridge), to discuss the critical, ethical, and epistemological questions that arise from the study of a 'print culture' and its digital reproduction. The discussion will be chaired by Professor Caroline Bassett, Director of Cambridge Digital Humanities (CDH). The floor will be subsequently open to all attendees for questions and provocations.